Art Is Art

Collaborating with Neurodiverse Artists at Creativity Explored

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Pub Date 31 Oct 2023 | Archive Date 30 Oct 2023

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Creativity Explored celebrates its 40th anniversary with a collection of powerful artwork and perspectives from its talented neurodiverse artists.

This vibrant book uplifts the voices of the artists of Creativity Explored, a nonprofit that gives people with developmental disabilities the opportunity to express themselves through art and share their work with audiences from their local community and in the contemporary art world.

Featuring hundreds of original paintings, drawings, illustrations, and sculptures—as well as quotes from and stories about the artists—this curated collection invites readers to examine and challenge their perceptions about disability. Some artworks are humorous and blunt, while others are affecting and abstract, speaking to the artistic community’s diversity and creativity. This book offers an engaging introduction to person-centered thinking for art lovers or anyone interested in learning about disability justice in a visual way. 

Creativity Explored celebrates its 40th anniversary with a collection of powerful artwork and perspectives from its talented neurodiverse artists.

This vibrant book uplifts the voices of the artists...

Available Editions

EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9781797211909
PRICE $35.00 (USD)

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Average rating from 19 members

Featured Reviews

This was an interesting book to spend some time with. I appreciated how it was laid out and the categories it was organized into. Also, the typography is gorgeous. Some of the works were very compelling.

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Wonderful book. I was impressed by the organization and their dedication to creating a book featuring an often overlooked group of artists. The talent featured in the book is amazing. Great book to share with people of all ages and any walk of life.

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Art is Art dives into the complexities and various avenues taken by neurodiverse artists through Creativity Explored. This book is great for anyone looking to learn about disability justice and ways these artists are making art given all the obstacles.
The artwork in this book is absolutely beautiful with so much diversity in the style and subject matter. I really enjoy the quotes and stories along with the introduction to person-centered thinking.

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This massive book of art is such a great contribution to art books. It features nearly 400 pages of art by artists at an organization in California that provides art access to neurodiverse people in the community. Each chapter features one artist or one theme, with an in depth introduction to the artist or topic. The materials range from markers to fabric. It’s so nice to see a collection by ordinary people that celebrates the artistry in all of us and the talents of people who are typically excluded or ignored by the art world.

I read a temporary digital copy of this book for review.

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NetGalley users please check this gorgeous collection of art made by gifted individuals. Through captivating prompts, the artists express their thoughts, and identities. Their works were unique, compelling, and I recommend anyone who enjoys art and uplifting marginalized voices/works to add this to your must-buy list.

Thank you @netgalley and @chroniclebooks for this gorgeous Arc

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I loved this collection of artwork by neurodiverse artists. It deserves a place on anyone’s coffee table. There needs to be more places like Creativity Explored where the definition of art and artist can be indefinitely expanded.

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Creativity Explored is, in their words, “a progressive nonprofit studio and art gallery that partners with developmentally disabled artists.” This gorgeous volume celebrates forty years of their work in the San Francisco Bay Area by sharing the artwork of 115 neurodiverse artists. The chapters are divided by topic (home, food, celebrity,), and medium (clay, animation) and also include chapters featuring the work of a single artist. The images are gorgeous and the work compelling. We see a number of recurring elements that might be expected from a neurodiverse artist, like repetition, bright colors, abstraction, and creative proportions, but we also see stunning use of these elements and works that could take their place in any art gallery or museum. I was often reminded of the work of Yayoi Kusama, also a neurodiverse artist, and in one painting, I startled to see a hand that looked exactly like it came from Picasso’s “Girl Before a Mirror.”

The teachers and mentors at Creativity Explored make a point of saying that what they are doing is not art therapy (although my personal view is that all art is therapy). They treat their clients as professional artists, which in reality they are, because they are shown in exhibitions at the CE gallery and around the world, and are mentored on creating and maintaining professional careers (the book states that over $2 million has been earned by CE artists from their work). What struck me the most in this book was the way each of the artists was introduced at the beginning of each chapter. Nothing about their disabilities is mentioned; rather, the descriptions concentrate on the artists as people. Here’s an example: “By working to the edge of the picture plane, (artist)’s framing draws your attention to the inner void. (Artist) includes hundreds if not thousands of tiny gestural marks that appear more formal from afar.”

I was completely drawn in by this book - the work of these artists is so deeply personal and direct that it hits home on many levels. The authors state that their work is being recognized as being outside even the traditional “outsider art” descriptions, and that many institutions, including the Smithsonian, are reevaluating their policies regarding untrained artists. This book is truly, in the words of the authors, “a reminder that thrilling work is all around us.”

Many many thanks to Chronicle Books and NetGalley for allowing me to review this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

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I really enjoyed this collection of art from neurodiverse artists. The overall structure and layout of the book is very aesthetically pleasing and was very pleasant to look through. I also really appreciated the quotes from some of the featured artists as well as the diverse mediums seen throughout the art pieces.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book!

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for this e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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art is art is a collection of art pieces made by neurodiverse artists about tons of different subjects and using various mediums. i did mostly skim through the text since its more so supposed to be something you look through from time to time but i enjoyed the parts that i did read! im so glad to see that such a non-profit organisation exists and is doing the work to promote neurodiverse artists. really enjoyed this overall!
thank you to the publisher chronicle books and netgalley for providing me with a free e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

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📚Book Review 📚
Art Is Art
by Ann Kappes
Pub Date 10/31/23

Creativity Explored is a non profit organization dedicated to helping neurodiverse individuals explore art for themselves. It is not art therapy.

This collection of many different mediums of art, stories about the artists and quotes from the artists is an inspiration and a testament that anyone can be an artist.

I thought that each chapter was unique and what an awesome organization to help others.

Thank you @netgalley Ann Kappes and @chroniclebooks for an electronic book ARC (Advanced Readers Copy) in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

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Absolutely loved this book. It showcases creative expression from developmentally disabled artists and proves that art is for all. This was a very enjoyable read.

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This was a wholesome book. The book was divided into "chapters" based on themes of artwork. Each chapter had a page of a summary or explanation for the artwork in the chapter, and then the remainder of the chapter would be photos of the artwork. I sometimes skimmed the explanations. But the artwork itself was gorgeous!

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“Art is Art: Collaborating with Neurodiverse Artists at Creativity Explored,” edited and authored by Ann Kappes, is a bright, colorful, engaging, exciting and expressive book of unexpectedly inspiring and unique multimedia works created by rustic folk artists as culturally and emotionally different (ADHD, autism, synesthesia, etc.) as their vivid and passionate design ingenuity. This 8”x10” full-color format book is 368-pages of awe-inspiring wonder to savor and linger over.

TheBookMaven graciously thanks NetGalley, Author Ann Kappes, and Publisher Chronicle Books for this Advanced Reader’s Copy (ARC) for review.

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I found this book to be a captivating and enriching experience. Its well-structured layout, organized categories, and stunning typography added to its appeal. The highlight for me was the compelling artworks featured throughout, showcasing the creativity of neurodiverse artists associated with Creativity Explored. "Art is Art" masterfully delves into the intricate and diverse paths these artists traverse, despite facing numerous obstacles, making it an excellent resource for those interested in disability justice.

The beauty and diversity of the artwork featured in the book are truly breathtaking, spanning a wide range of styles and subjects. The inclusion of quotes and stories, along with the introduction to person-centered thinking, added a deeper layer of appreciation and understanding to the artworks presented.

I extend my heartfelt thanks to @netgalley and @chroniclebooks for providing me with this stunning ARC. This book is an invaluable treasure that celebrates the artistic brilliance of neurodiverse individuals while shedding light on their remarkable journey through the world of art.

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Thank you for providing me the opportunity to review "Art Is Art” prior to publication. I am appreciative and leave my sincerity review voluntarily.

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As an high school English teacher and avid reader, I’m well versed in the power of language to serve as a vehicle for expression and understanding. Art, of course, has different tools available, but it also can allow for powerful discussions on emotion, sense perception, and intuition as ways of knowing. In recent years, we have included more discussion of “visual” texts in class, and I was attracted to Creativity Explored’s volume because it provided a rich collection of thematically organized pieces of art that could serve as subjects of classroom discussion. Art and literature always pushes boundaries (as well they should!), and some works in this collection will make some people uncomfortable, but since when has the purpose of the arts been to make people comfortable? This collection is a tribute to the power of art to serve as a vehicle of expression for all people—in all our complexities and differences. While I wouldn’t share all of the works in this collection with my students, there are many that I would, and I could see how these works could open up meaningful discussion of perspective, transformation, and identity explored through art.

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A beautifully presented collection of artwork put together by an organization bringing attention and support to the neurodiverse. Worth checking out if you are simply into art, or if you are curious about neurodiversity.

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As an artist myself, the idea of person centered thinking was fascinating. Looking at yourself and your art through the lens of the prompts would be a game changer for any artist.

The art compiled in this book was unique and beautiful, some so cutting edge. Some of my favorites were Am I Repeating Myself?. Fibrocosm, Out of Order, and Bits & Pieces.

The typography was gorgeous and it was really a joy and inspiring to see these collections and the artists' stories. I can't wait to find and follow some of these artists' journeys.

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Art is art compiled by Ann Kappes was a very comforting read to me while I was in and out of the doctors office. The artwork is beautiful and the writing to accompany it is also quite dashing. Definitely want a copy of this on my shelf.

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